[#1] DBSK/HoMin - "Back To Tomorrow"

From: "TONE" (Album)
Released: September 2011, Japan
Rating: 5.00

Surprised? Nah, you know me well enough already.

I tried really hard to keep a DBSK/HoMin/JYJ song off the top spot this year, and I even thought of just revealing the top 5 songs out of order, because I know that there are people who will write me off and start raising hell if DBSK end up on top. Again. But after certain events, like hearing "TONE" in CDQ on extremely nice speakers, screw that.

Everyone has to understand that unlike other people, or even the people who raise hell at my choice, I like DBSK because of the music. My fangirling works the other way around -- I hear a song I like, I do my research, I hear more songs I like, I recognize their voices, I start learning about the members, I hear entire albums of brilliance, I pick a favorite voice, which becomes my favorite member altogether, and I begin spazzing on Twitter over their cats. For me, the music always comes first, and I'm a Cassie because of all the brilliant songs.

So if DBSK, or any part of, keep coming on top of my best of lists, it's because they really deserve it. I have explained time and time again that I KNOW DBSK aren't perfect, I know they have their flaws, I know they've had some really bad songs over the years, and before "Mirotic" they couldn't really hold a solid live performance in Korea, but the good outweighs the bad. At the end of the day they are immensely talented, they can carry themselves on stage like no other boyband in K-Pop right now, and they have some of the best material the Asian pop music industry has to offer.

"Back To Tomorrow" is one of those songs. It's epic, it's well-sung and well-arranged, and above all it's a beautiful song. I wouldn't describe it as stunning or gorgeous, because there's something lacking in those words, something inferior. Beautiful is a more apt term. Simple, but straight to the point, like the song itself.

You have all these heavy instruments, a bass line you really feel in your bones, a confident yet gorgeous string section, this very light, but firm, piano line, and despite everything happening, the song has such a strong sense of dynamics. The verses are quite packed, but them literally there's a BAM and everything explodes. And that explosion will literally reduce you into a puddle of goo because it's so beautiful.

The melody is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and Yunho and Changmin do it flawlessly, but one thing I noticed is that the melody is actually pretty tame compared to the epic instrumental. It sounds so humble and effortless. It's as if Yunho and Changmin are like "you want epic, here you go" without lifting a finger. Of course the song still has conviction, but unlike other acts, they don't have to try too hard to deliver something amazing.

With everything going on all over the place, you'd think that either the elements clash, or the melody will sound disjointed from the instrumental. They don't, and it's not. Everything gels together in the most natural way possible. Kind of like when you mix the yellow and white of an egg, and the mixture turns out yellow, but a little lighter than the original yellow. "Back To Tomorrow" is exactly like that.

To put it simply, the songwriters, and the arranger, knew exactly what they wanted, and they knew exactly what they were doing when they executed it. And Yunho and Changmin went in and executed it flawlessly, to make my favorite song of 2011.
[FULL][AUD]Tohoshinki - Back to tomorrow from manaras on Vimeo.


  1. Wow, I must say I am a little shocked. I adore 'Back To Tomorrow' to bits and pieces but I would have never guessed it was your number #1. After seeing 'Before U Go' settle at #3 I had my money on 'Keep Your Head Down' being your #1 (the Japanese version would still be eligible by your rules), but wow, it's 'Back To Tomorrow'.

    But that's why I keep coming back to read your reviews, because even if this song isn't my personal favorite of the year, reading what you had to say provides me a perspective that's different from my own and missing from my point of view. I, for one, will not be raising hell on your choice because I completely understand your reasoning behind how you became a Cassie, because I feel the same way, and especially since I don't spazz them or their cats, music and talent were the only things I go off of. I'm glad to say I am a proud owner of this album (and a few others on your list of recommended albums), listening to it front to back in CDQ was pure joy.

    Finally, I just want to give a shout out to you for being as fair and as inclusive you possibly can with this year's rankings. It would be an understatement to say that your reviews and rankings have helped us appreciate KPop music more. Great job and looking forward to more great writing from you in 2012.

  2. lol, I kept checking my computer and ipod all day to see which song was the #1. Even though your a Cassie (I am a huge Cassie as well), I honestly know that you weren't being biased. I also understand how its music first. Heck, I'm the same way too! but Changmin's long legs and food obsession cannot be ignored either -w- lol.

    Tone was an amazing album as a whole, and I was so glad when my grandmother got it for me. This was one of my favourite songs too.:)

    LOL, ANYWAYS!! Great list! I seriously love this blog. I remember finding it in January 2011 around exam time. I know, I should have been studying (I was XD), but your reviews really helped me get through that week. Especially since it was my first time taking exams (I was in grade 9).

  3. finally no.1! i am surprised that it's another DBSK song but i'm not complaining. cos they are still my favourite kpop idol group, even when whittled down to 2.

    this isn't one of my favourites from TONE, but i understand your reasoning behind it.

    after watching KBS gayo daejun last night and seeing how DBSK are not performing towards the end makes me kinda sad that most audience nowadays do not realise their worth. but following your list of best songs, i'm reassured that there are still Cassies out there who continue to support DBSK for their musical talent above everything else. :)

    Have a happy and blessed 2012!

  4. Nice choice it was my #2, my #1 is suddenly by Kim Bo Kyung. Everyone has a little different taste in music ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbHXNjyv-bY

  5. I completely agree with your choice for the number one spot. :) When I first heard Back To Tomorrow, I was blown away. I really had to pause and take in how amazing the whole song was. Definitely one of my favorites from TVXQ. ^^ I'm really happy that Yunho and Changmin were able to give us a really good album with TONE. I can't wait for their TONE tour! :D

    Thanks for this review. Happy New Year!!!

  6. Your list is 70% similar to mine! I also had "Back To Tomorrow" at top 5 simply because it's glorious, beautiful, and everything good.

    TONE album is basically my defense to everyone doubting whether SM/Avex gave DBSK good material this year. Lord, SM gave them their best lead single materials while Avex produced this amazing album for DBSK, or HoMin in this matter. Granted, music is a matter of taste, but to me HoMin did more than well this year. Because of that, they are nowhere near 'irrelevant' in the music industry, even though reality says more than 50% of the original band has been replaced. That alone gave testament on how great the legacy of "DBSK" name means too, I think.

    2011 is not the best year of k-pop, but this year has a lot of good songs too, even though I'm not sure whether the good songs outweigh the bad. Anyway, my other favorite songs this year: IU - 비밀 (Secret), Tablo ft. Lee Sora - Home, and Girls' Day Minah - 갈라진달 :)

  7. wow, thank you for this- I've dicovered so many great songs, and I am now absolutely in love with "Back To Tomorrow"!


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